Friday 25 January 2008

foody friday covered in catch-up

Before I forget (again), I would like to divert your attention to Helen's newest blog, The Sacred Art of Eating. It's a project she started at the beginning of the year, in which she cooks every recipe from the "Nigella Express" cookbook (amongst other things.) I've got a bit of a bugbear with this book, so I'm really curious to see how certain recipes turn out for her. I love this sort of thing. It's one thing to flip through a cookbook yourself, but it's quite another to see how people interpret the recipes and how the dishes turn out. So if you're one of the ten kajillion people who got Nigella's book this Christmas, cook along with Helen!

Along with my new found love of breakfast tacos (three mornings running now), I've been delving into other American classics this week. This must be a sign that I'm getting a wee bit homesick, come to think of it. (Note to self: ask mom to send more Kraft Dinner.) First up, chocolate chip cookies from Allrecipes. It's a fairly standard recipe and it worked really well. I used butter instead of "butter flavoured shortening" (just the thought makes me slightly queasy) and as with most American recipes, I find you need to avoid using fan-assist if you're using an electric oven (or if you are, you need to turn the temperature down.) Whenever I do any type of cookies, I always cook them for the minimum time given and check the first batch often until you get the timing right for the next one. For chewy cookies, they should be slightly brown on the edges but still quite pale in the middle. I have almost two dozen cookies at the moment, but you need to hurry if you want one.

Next up is chilli, with the added bonus of being made with leftover slow cooked brisket*. Now before all you Texans send me a bunch of huffy comments, I didn't make an authentic Texan chilli; it had kidney beans and a tomato sauce base. Sorry, but that's what us backwards Canadians grew up with.

Finally, it's macaroni and cheese day today. The excuse being that I'm making this for my little boy who's mad for it, but I may have to try some of it to make sure it's palatable. I'm making this easy stove top macaroni and cheese from Alton Brown, although I tend to go for the baked variety. As a side note, I'm still giggling at the fact that there's a recipe for deep fried macaroni and cheese on that site. Oh you wacky Americans!

And for supper tonight? No clue whatsoever. But tomorrow night, the girls go to Restaurant 22 and get driven around by a fireman. True story!

*Slow cooked brisket to serve 4 hungry people: In a large oven-proof casserole, saute some celery, onion, garlic, and carrot in a little olive oil until tender, then throw in some fresh sage leaves and about 3/4 of a bottle of robust red wine. Reduce a little then stir in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Place approx. 1 1/2 kg of brisket in the pot. Make sure the meat is almost covered - if it needs more liquid, add a little water or beef stock. Season, and put in a 150C oven for a minimum of 4 hours, or until the meat is falling apart when you put a knife in it. Put the meat on a plate to rest, and strain the remaining sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil until it reduces a little, and check for seasoning. If it needs it, you can thicken it slightly with a bit of diluted cornflour. Serve with veggies (I love sauteed cavolo nero with this) and creamy mashed potatoes.

If you don't have a casserole, you can use a heavy-based stockpot sealed with a layer of heavy duty clingfilm and thick tinfoil. The clingfilm is essential in keeping the meat moist.

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